Two Paws DOWN

I saw “Over the Hedge” on the plane ride home yesterday.
In my defense, my laptop battery had just died in the middle of a good episode of Buffy, and I was yearning to do something that was not sleep and not read the boring magazines in the hands of the people sitting on both sides of me.
Anyway, let me just say that I would have WALKED OUT, had “out” not meant through an emergency exit at 30,000 feet. “Over the Hedge” offended me as a human being.
Let’s deal with the superficial first. The characters were boring looking. It looked like they were programmed with one expression and then copied and pasted into each scene, reminding me of Poochie’s dramatic exit back to his home planet in The Simpsons.
The voice acting was awful. AWFUL. I’m sorry, just because you’re a big star does not mean you should be a squirrel. Steve Carell was AWFUL as the part of a hyperactive squirrel. It sounded so forced. I also think they sped it up to sound higher. How hard would it have been to get Dane Cook or someone else who is actually really hyper all the time? Yes, fine, Steve Carell is a funny guy. Whatever. He makes a funny face. Guess what? Not so good for voice acting.
Most everyone else was just a caricature of themselves. William Shatner was William Shatner. Eugene Levy and Catherine O’Hara were married and had midwest accents. Hey, I remember that movie being funny…WHEN IT WAS CALLED “BEST IN SHOW.” Avril Lavigne couldn’t act, but she can’t sing, either, so I didn’t expect much. Garry Shandling was nervous and self-loathing. HOWEVER DID THEY GET INTO CHARACTER?!
Ben Folds provided the music, which was so promising and made me so happy at first…until I discovered that he rewrote “Rockin’ The Suburbs” for the credits. It went from being about middle-class white boys acting all bad ass to being about how America is stupid because they go to supermarkets and have credit cards. FOR SHAME, AMERICA! Why should you want food or use alternate methods of payment?! What a sellout America is!
This leads us to the plot of the film. Not 10 minutes in, Bruce Willis the annoying-voiced raccoon explains via montage how easy it is to get food in suburbia. However he used the “Steven Colbert” method of explanation by pretending it’s a good thing, when the whole audience thinks it’s hilarious because it’s NOT what you’re supposed to think is a good thing!
The old switcheroo!
See, the little expressionless raccoon explains to the other animals how easy it is to get food since America loves food so much! A doorbell is just an announcement that food is here! Cars are just used to get food! People are couch potatoes! Wocka wocka wocka!
Probably poignant except for a few parts. Um, we need to eat. Can’t we make a touching liberally slanted movie about how parents neglect their children by popping an “Over the Hedge” DVD into the player? How about mommy and daddy spending more time at work than at home? Perhaps a film about how stupid kids are these days? Can we stay away from the basest building block of life — eating? Okay, maybe nachos aren’t part of a complete breakfast, but if you’re going to get preachy, do you think you should maybe stay away from mocking the demographic that the movie is going for? People who eat?
Let’s not even mention the fact that you can pick up your own “Over the Hedge” figures and toys WITH YOUR WENDY’S KIDS MEAL!
OOOOH, Marketing: 1. Annoyingly touching message: 0.
They whine about a few other things: urban sprawl, driving SUVs, inhumane extermination, which would be valid points if only every single person I knew who touts himself as an ecology-minded vegetarian didn’t live in the biggest house in the nicest part of town, drive the Hummiest of vehicles, and smash the most innocuous of bugs with their pints of Ben & Jerry’s.
I felt the same way when, after my viewing of “An Inconvenient Truth,” I watched the three hemp-wearers behind me, who had hooted and cheered through the entire film, hop back into their Hummer, crank up the A/C, drove off, and somewhere, Al Gore shed a single tear. There’s one reason and one reason only why these movies upset me: I don’t like being hypocritical.
I recycle, I don’t litter, I try to conserve water, but I’m not going to agree with a movie that mocks people who drive SUVs and eat nachos, because guess what? My SUV has enough space to hold LOTS of nachos, which I like to eat.
Let’s get to the most hypocritical point in the movie. THE END, so don’t read this part if you’re going to see it, which you shouldn’t, so keep reading. The baby hedgehogs save the fucking day by using a GPS and driving a van using moves they learned on Grand Theft Auto 3 (which the movie “hilariously” called Big Stealy Cary 3 or some crap like that). But it wasn’t even an ironic joke. It wasn’t a lesson learned that, guess what, we don’t live in log cabins and drive horses and eat maize anymore for a reason. They just…kind of saved the day that way, and meekly tried to drive the point home that the day was saved because the hyperactive squirrel found all his nuts so the turtle and his gang could eat the next winter.
The worst part — I AM NOT MAKING THAT PLOT UP!!! Someone actually wrote and someone else actually green lit that piece of crap. Things like this make me yearn for Disney Schlock because at least Disney Shlock was pretty and had some catchy tunes.
I’d like to write more, but I’ve overshot my angry capital-letter quota for the day. I think I’ll stick to watching Buffy on the plane because that has a message I fully endorse — Don’t let vampires bite your neck. Ooh, unless that vampire is Spike. Pretty Spike.

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